Meeting Date:

May 16, 2005





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:


Beverly Chaney /

Dave Dettman

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  During April 2005, Carmel River streamflow conditions were excellent for juvenile steelhead rearing, adult steelhead upstream migration, and downstream smolt and kelt migration.


During April 2005, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 210 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 134 to 355 cfs. 


April rainfall of 1.73 inches, as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), closely matched the long-term April average of 1.68 inches at this site.  For Water Year (WY) 2005, rainfall totaled 28.94 inches through April, or 71% above the long-term accumulated monthly average of 20.55 inches.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  In early March 2005, the outflow from the lagoon started to migrate farther to the north and towards the tall sand bluff along Scenic Road.   High river flows, and unusually large late winter waves and high tides continued to erode the bluff, threatening a large cypress tree, roadway, and the western corner of the beach parking lot.  The entire Stewart’s Cove beach was washed away.  On March 10, Monterey County Public Works cut a new lagoon channel farther to the south to redirect the outflow away from the bluff.  Using bulldozers, Public Works pushed sand back underneath the roadway and the exposed tree roots.


During April 2005, the river again migrated to the north, cutting away the restored bluff and beach.  The mouth was open throughout April, with the water surface elevation (WSE) ranging between 4.5 feet and 7.5 feet above sea level (see graph below). 


On May 2, 2005, Monterey County Public Works crews again cut a new river channel to the south and pushed sand back underneath Scenic Road.


Carmel River Lagoon Water Surface Elevation (feet NGVD) – April 2005



ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS AT SAN CLEMENTE DAM:  The District’s automatic adult fish counter at the San Clemente Dam Ladder has been in operation since December 28, 2004, when San Clemente Dam began spilling.  As of April 30, 2005, only 327 adult fish had been recorded at the counter, far below the average run-to-date of 493 fish for the 1993-2004 period.  This year’s adult steelhead run is likely to be the smallest since the early 1990s when the run was still recovering from a six-year drought. 



Adult Steelhead Count-- 2004-2005 season
San Clemente Reservoir Fish Ladder, Monterey County, CA





Dec 2004


Jan 2005


Feb 2005


Mar 2005


April 2005







STEELHEAD REDD SURVEYS:  Due to high winter flows and turbid water, no steelhead redd (nests) surveys were completed in the mainstem of the Carmel River during 2004-2005.   The District has been conducting redd surveys since 1994 in conjunction with the spawning gravel enhancement project.  Surveys generally take place in mid March through April after most of the adult fish have spawned and the flows are low enough to get into the remote sections of the river, in particular, between the dams and in the Sleepy Hollow area.   As the river continues to down-cut in the lower valley, it is becoming more difficult to walk some reaches in the winter, as the channel is narrow and deep.  This year, late season storms kept river flows well above the approximate 100 cfs needed to do a thorough and safe survey.   A late March storm that brought flows above 2,000 cfs, effectively erased all evidence of redds as streambed gravels were moved by the flow.


Surveys of the lower sections of all the tributaries below San Clemente Dam were completed in early March.  Only one redd was observed in Garzas Creek.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY:  Staff is currently working on several modifications to the rearing channel, repairing a section of bird netting canopy, and a number of off-season tasks in preparation for holding rescued fish this summer.


In late April 2005, staff gave a site tour of the Facility to three National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) officials, Dick Butler, Jeffrey Jahn, and John McKeon.  Facility set-up, operations and modifications were reviewed.  District staff and NOAA Fisheries officials also discussed the District’s pending Section 10 permit application, which was originally submitted on November 14, 1997.